“Our staff was evacuated — many of them are staying at the LDS meetinghouse that is in the Cebu City Temple compound,” she said. “Last time I spoke to them they said they are fine, although they can still feel the strong winds and the rain.”
LDS officials in the Philippines indicated that even before the storm hit, meetinghouses were being prepared for use as shelters for those in need of safer housing, and missionaries from the church’s 21 missions in the Philippines were moved to safer places, if needed.
“If there is any concern about the safety of an area, we move our missionaries out of that area,” Allen said in a prepared release. “We’ve known about this storm for some time, and all mission presidents have moved missionaries to areas where they believe they can be adequately sheltered from the typhoon.”
The church has also established an emergency monitoring center in Manila to track needs and opportunities for service as they arise.
“We have set up this command center to monitor Typhoon Yolanda and to help our priesthood leaders in assessing the needs of the members and the communities,” said Willy Dasalla, project specialist. “We are receiving reports from the stakes and the different congregations, and we are doing our best to respond to the needs that are being reported.”
Meanwhile, back in Utah, friends and family members of those in the eye of the storm continue to wait and watch for news and information.
“I called last night,” said Nina Shaver, a Filipino native who now lives in American Fork. “My sister told me they can’t reach anybody in my hometown — they’re not getting a signal.
“I’m going to keep calling,” she said. “I don’t know when I will talk to someone.”
Meanwhile, she said, “we’re just praying about it.”
“I’m praying for my hometown,” she added. “Right now, that is all I can do.”
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